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Today I read a number of blogs that labored over things that happen during worship that might be distracting to the worshiper.  

Worrying about whether or not our worship offering to God is distracting just seems silly.  What is the Biblical precedence for this kind of thinking?  I can't think of anything - sure there are passages that warn us about doing things for our own gain - but that isn't the same as worrying about being distracting.  

When it comes to our worship offering we need to be concerned with excellence.  Not whether or not person A or B is going to be distracted by something that is going on during the service.  I have said this a thousand times: if somebody is distracted from giving God his due during our corporate worship offering, then the problem isn't the thing that distracted him in the first place, the problem is the individual's lack of discipline when it comes to worshiping God.

Back when I was learning to fly planes, I had an instructor who would jab me and throw things at me while I was working out particularly complicated problems.  He did this while we were on the ground, he would do this while we were in the air.  He would make me put on a hood and then make me put my head between my legs (as much as you can do in a little plane) then completely disorient the plane.  Then he would say "OK, fix it.  You have 10 seconds".  So while I'm assessing and fixing, he would complicate things by hitting me in the head with the Snickers bar that he had in his pocket (this is probably why I don't like Snickers anymore).  

While it was annoying, and even angering, it really helped me learn to focus in tight situations.  Seems to me that if we want to make worshipers less distracted, the goal should be to allow more distractions during worship service (though, I'm not sure how to do this and accomplish excellence).

Tags: genre, level, lights, music, of, sound, volume

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What kinds of distractions are you referring to? I just have to ask because I'm never confronted with this question.
It almost sounds like you're saying "Let's make our worship times as difficult as possible so that we can prove who the really spiritual ones are." The Bible teaches that we are to remove stumbling blocks, not toss more in.
Cory,

Your ability to look past distractions and circumstances into the face of God is, I believe, one of the main symptoms of Christian maturity, something I myself am also striving for, and I also strongly agree that it is a discipline that all Believers should be building into their lives. I kind of like your thought of allowing (but not necessarily inviting) more distractions during worship, and am probably in the minority here on WTR in saying that "excellence" should be allowed to slide--genuine worship should always take precedence over excellent worship.

So I agree with the heart of your sentiment--I can't blame others for my distractedness during worship--but I can't go all the way there with you. The picture of corporate worship gatherings I get from I Corinthians 14 is one of orderliness and, backing up to I Cor. 10 for context, concern for others' consciences above my own. Like loving parents who selflessly give up their freedoms for the benefit of their children, mature Believers must be willing to sacrifice some of their freedoms to benefit those who are spiritual infants. The place for a mature Believer to worship with complete freedom may not be in corporate worship, but rather in a private setting.

I find that I struggle with distractedness most when I'm relying on corporate worship time as my only worship time. In contrast, when I've made time to freely and personally worship God throughout the week, I'm not nearly as intent on "getting the most" out of Sunday morning worship.

Grace and peace!
Chris
Cory -

When it comes to our worship offering we need to be concerned with excellence. Not whether or not person A or B is going to be distracted by something that is going on during the service.

Well, I'll disagree with that statement... if there is something going on during the service that is distracting members of the congregation from worshiping, I would rather see the worship leader stop things for a moment, make sure someone is dealing with the situation, and then restart the song. Obviously, there's a line, I wouldn't stop the worship service for a crying baby, but I would probably make a comment before the next song acknowledging the situation in a positive way. I've been in church services where someone in the congregation had a seizure, something like that. To use your flying metaphor, the WL needs to realize that the plane is tipped and know what to do to get all the "passengers" back on board, feeling like the situation has been dealt with. I was in a church service one time where a monkey came walking up the aisle. That pretty much demands some sort of comment from the stage :-) While you may be entitled to expect the worship team members to handle surprises, you can't expect that of the congregation.

By the way, with your mention of flying, I have to ask... did you release a CD a few years back under the name "Cory Sipper?" Just wondering if I have a treasure here :-)
I'm with Rick on this one - if we can remove the distractions, let's do that. It sounds like we're trying to set up a spiritual base camp and stress each other to our distractable limits! (I know you were just trying to make a point, but don't hate Snicker's bars...)

"Hey joe, put down that drumstick and bean that lady with a Snicker's bar, she looks too focused."
dude, you got it. when Jesus wanted to focus, He got clean away from everything. with no distractions. so it makes sense to follow his lead. we as leaders need to try and make it an atmosphere that promotes worship, not recreating a daycare setting.
Good question. I'm going to try and answer this by commenting on some of the comments below.
Actually, this isn't what I'm saying at all. This would be the antithesis of pursuing excellence in our worship offering. The point that I'm trying to make is that by making whether or not something is a distraction the measure that we use to determine whether or not "it" gets used in our worship offering isn't quite on the mark with how we ought to measure what we do and don't do with our worship offering to God.

So, in the end, I'm not saying that we need to add distractions - but using "it is too distracting" as a measuring stick misses the mark. Measuring something by excellence I think is a more Biblical principle.
When it comes to 1 Corinthians, it is worth pointing out that the reason there was a problem is that the point of their worship ceased to be God centered. It was more self-centered. I'm not at all decrying the pursuit of order (though, we have to be very careful that the order doesn't become worshiped itself, which does happen a lot in American churches).

I would also argue along the lines that giving up your self for your children, or ceasing to give your worship offering of song to tend to the needs of another is, in fact, worship. Thus, those kinds of distractions aren't really distractions at all. They are just worship from another angle.

At the same time, private, isolated worship isn't bad either. But that isn't really what I'm talking about. I'm talking about worship in the corporate setting. To cite specific examples of what I'm trying to get at: the blogs that I read, one guy was upset that his lighting guy hit the blackout button a couple of times during worship. This was a horrid thing because it creates distractions. OK - I agree that this isn't what should be going on. But I don't know that the measure should be distraction, the measure should be excellence. Excellent lighting operators don't flash the lights on accident... unless they are being sloppy... which means that they are being less than excellent.

NOT doing something for God's worship offering that God gave us the ability to do because we believe it will be too distracting to somebody is the point that I'm harping on here.
Hmmm - very good point.
Can you give some examples of distractions in the context of this discussion? How about snicker's bars on the back of the head? Would that qualify? (Sorry, couldn't resist).
I think I said this earlier on, but yup, stopping the service to handle a situation is just as much worship as singing songs to God. So those aren't really the kinds of distractions that I'm talking about. And really, they might distract us from doing what we intended on doing (singing / preaching / learning) but ultimately, they are acts of worship too and should be seen that way.

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